julia's kuku parties

Saying No To Auto & Learning To Use The Manual Settings on Your DSLR

I was lucky enough to receive a Nikon D5100 for Christmas last year and promptly started researching how to use the monster. I downloaded apps to my iPhone, scoured the internet and created a photography tips pin board on Pinterest you can check it out here.


Here are some of my most recent & treasured photographs with my new memory saving Tool.





This one of my hubby and nephew is more hilarious than an example of what I have learnt.


















I love this photo but it was spoilt a little because I forgot to turn the flash off. One of the most valuable things I have learnt so far is when shooting children to get up close and turn off the flash.

My main goal for the last few months has been to get out of the auto mode and try to use as many of the manual functions of the camera as possible to achieve the best possible results.

I have learnt that when going manual there are three main things to adjust and be aware of.

  1. ISO: which relates to the sensitivity of the image sensor to the amount of light present
  2. F-Stop/Aperture: relates to the amount of light being letting in
  3. Shutter Speed: The shutter speed controls the amount of time that the volume of light coming through the lens

Are you confused? I am but I am getting there. I have been referring to a simple tutorial by Kirsten Duke on a regular basis titled Knowing Your Camera it gives a basic view of the above and gives you some basic settings for a variety of situations you can try with you camera.

Click here to view a collection of other posts from Kirsten Duke with detailed tutorials on how to make full use of your DSLR

Julia xx




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  1. thanks for sharing, Julia!

  2. My I am jealous. Fabulous photos

  3. What crystal clear photos!!!

    I bought a new camera and set it to auto and the pictures keep coming out too dark.. but it didn’t come with a manual.. you have inspired me to google!!

    I also have a fancy one with an $800 lens I have no idea how to use – my sister (who is a professional photographer gave me) I really need to google this one.

    • Hi Yvette, it is so amazing what a good camera can do even if like me you really have no idea what your doing with it.
      Check out my pin board I have already found lots of really good tutorials

  4. Oh I just treated myself to a new D5100 too!

    It’s a lovely camera, takes awesome shots (though I am sad that I need a newer version of photoshop to edit the raw files)…. I am slowly trying to re-learn all the things I learned as a teenager, but my brain just doesn’t want to hold on to this camera info any more!

  5. Great photographs! I love the shot of baby holding the pinecone! I bought a D80 in 2008 and still have yet to learn how to really use it. *sigh* It’s a shame really. Your post inspired me to dig out the manual again though. Thanks for the useful link!
    Talking Thirty recently posted..Featured on BlogHer Moms and Expandng.comMy Profile

  6. Love your pictures of the cutie pootie! Thanks for all the advice. I am a newbie and have sooo much to learn. Please feel free to stop by my blog and any advice or helpful hints on my photos would be greatly appreciated.

  7. Bookmarking this to check the articles. I’ve become so used to iPhoneography and what I can create in that medium that I keep putting off learning how to properly use my DSLR. I am just going to have to bite the bullet!
    Veronica @ Mixed Gems recently posted..The stratosphere jump and childbirthMy Profile

    • They have really been a great starting point for me V but I still have a long way to go. I am going to Tim Coulsons workshop in Jan I am so excited x

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